Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:17–18
My family remembers my Grandpa Dierking as a man of strong faith and prayer. But it wasn’t always so. My aunt recalls the first time her father announced to the family, “We’re going to start giving thanks to God before we eat.” His first prayer was far from eloquent, but Grandpa continued the practice of prayer for the next fifty years, praying often throughout each day. When he died, my husband gave my grandmother a “praying hands” plant, saying, “Grandpa was a man of prayer.” His decision to follow God and talk to Him each day changed him into a faithful servant of Christ.
The Bible has a lot to say about prayer. In Matthew 6:9–13, Jesus gave a pattern for prayer to His followers, teaching them to approach God with sincere praise for who He is. As we bring our requests to God, we trust Him to provide “our daily bread” (v. 11). As we confess our sins, we ask Him for forgiveness and for help to avoid temptation (vv. 12–13).
But we aren’t limited to praying the “Lord’s Prayer.” God wants us to pray “all kinds of prayers” on “all occasions” (Ephesians 6:18). Praying is vital for our spiritual growth, and it gives us the opportunity to be in continual conversation with Him every day (1 Thessalonians 5:17–18).
As we approach God with humble hearts that yearn to talk with Him, may He help us know and love Him better.
How does God view the humble prayers of His children that may be less than eloquent? How can you make prayer a part of your daily life?
Father, thank You for the blessing of prayer and Your acceptance of me whenever I call on You.
Grow deeper in your understanding of prayer.
Though most of us are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, the Gospels contain several other prayers of Jesus. In John 17, we read Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer uttered on the night of His betrayal and arrest. After praying for Himself (vv. 1–5), Jesus prays for His disciples (vv. 6–19) and for all believers (vv. 20–26). He asks the Father to protect the church, sanctify it, and cause it to grow. Jesus also prays three short prayers on the cross (Luke 23:34; Mark 15:34; Luke 23:46).
Other prayers of Jesus include a prayer of thanks (John 6:11), a prayer before raising Lazarus (11:41–42), and a prayer after entering Jerusalem (12:27–28). Moreover, Jesus often withdrew from others to spend time in prayer with His Father (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; John 6:15). He exemplifies what it means to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).